State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, has explained why he was one of only eight state senators who voted against an incentive plan to lure a Boeing jet plant to Missouri.
Nieves told The Missourian Tuesday that he voted against the bill because there were unanswered questions surrounding the legislation, including whether it is even constitutional.
His vote against the bill came during last week’s special legislative session on the incentive package, which proponents say is an attempt to bring high-paying jobs to the state and region. If the Boeing 777X jet plant decides to move here, it could be an economic boon for Franklin County as well.
Regardless of how many jobs may be created “we have to look at the constitutionality of whatever the proposal is,” Nieves said.
He added that there is no guarantee that the proposal will bring the jobs. In fact, he said he thinks it is “very, very unlikely that Missouri gets the Boeing project to begin with.”
It is not so much that he opposed the incentive bill but that he did not have enough time to study it, he said. He said his first time to see the bill was last Monday afternoon, and he had to vote on it by Wednesday.
“Forty-eight hours is not enough time to vet a $1.5 billion project,” Nieves asserted.
He said he did not want to do something that former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did when she said the federal health care legislation had to pass before it could be read.
“We as conservatives came unglued when she said that,” Nieves said, adding that he is not going to chastise her for doing that and then do the same thing.
He noted that while he had questions about the bill he did not “gum up the works” through filibustering it.
He said the state’s Constitution “basically says that we shall not pass any special legislation for a particular company or entity. So I think it could be strongly argued that there are some constitutional questions about doing this particular piece of legislation.”
As for the jobs that the Boeing plant could bring to Missouri, he said the Legislature has to make “principled decisions.”
Nieves says he is in favor of measures that are properly vetted and constitutional. He added that he is not sure whether the incentive bill is unconstitutional but says there are questions.